Put Your Stake in the Marketing Position Ground

Guest post by Kathleen Gage.

Marketing PositionLook at many marketing campaigns and you might find one is pretty much the same as the other. There’s no major distinction between them.

To achieve the outcomes you desire, and stand out in the consumer’s mind, you must put a stake in the ground through your marketing position, meaning stand up for what you believe. Don’t be wishy-washy; stand tall and proud and be willing to do what needs to be done to let people know you exist.

When you first begin your business, you may not have the confidence you will gain over time regarding how you market you, your products and services, and your business. The sooner you get comfortable with marketing, the better.

There is a direct correlation between your level of confidence and the amount of money people will pay for your expertise. There is also a direct correlation between what people will pay you and how your expertise is packaged. Given two experts with equal qualifications including years in the industry, education, and knowledge, and one has taken time to package their knowledge into books and information products and the other has not, the first will command more money for their expertise.

When customers and prospective customers think of products like yours, you want to be the one who comes to mind and the one they will do business with. This top-of-mind awareness is known as market position.

Your marketing position is achieved through branding, packaging, public relations, promotions, a unique selling proposition, and excellent customer care, to name just a few. In the online world, there are four primary ways to become top-of-mind:

  • Build celebrity position
  • Become active in social networks
  • Use online media opportunities
  • Develop aligned partnerships
Celebrity Position

By celebrity position I am not referring to Oprah-level celebrity. Celebrity in this context is becoming incredibly visible and well-known to your market.

Social Networks

Involvement in social networks is a must-do! You cannot escape it. But ensure that your involvement is effective and not a waste of time.

Although the most popular social networks are Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Twitter you may find your market congregates elsewhere.

To assure you get the most out of your social networking efforts it is best to survey your market to know specifically where they hang out. A great resource for this would be Survey Monkey.

Online Media

Over the past few years, media opportunities have cropped up all over the internet – everything from online magazines to blogs, internet radio, video sites, and social media. Many of these opportunities cost nothing but time. It’s amazing how much visibility a targeted approach will get you with online media.

Aligned Partnerships

One of the fastest ways to build celebrity is through the partnerships you develop. No one makes it on their own. Successful people build solid relationships with others who support their values.

Although we have become an instant gratification world, there are those who know that success is not an overnight happening. To truly succeed in any venture, especially building your business using the strategies in this book, it takes time, commitment, and focus. Lay a solid foundation and you are in a great position to reap fantastic benefits.

To succeed you must have a long-term view as well as short-term goals. Get into the game of using the internet to build your business and market position with the knowledge that this does take effort, work, investment, and time. When you do, you are way ahead of the majority of people who attempt this for a little while only to give up when they realize it is real business at its best.

About Kathleen Gage:

Kathleen Gage, Power Up for ProfitsKathleen Gage is the “no-nonsense, common sense” online marketing strategist, speaker, author, product creation specialist and owner of “Power Up for Profits.” Kathleen helps entrepreneurs make money online. Her clients are driven by making a difference through their own unique voice.

Kathleen’s mission is to help people understand that their business is merely a means to get their message out to the world. She teaches that it’s not just about what you do, but the reasons behind why you do it.

Her newest book, Power Up For Profits; The Smart Woman’s Guide to Online Marketing is the perfect resource for any author who wants to reach more of their market in the fastest, most cost effective methods possible. For a very limited time when you order the book through Amazon you receive Kathleen’s report “How to Make Your First $100 Online” and “Sell Thousands from Any Platform” at no cost to you. Click here for full details.

Join me when I host Kathleen Gage on Adventures in Visibility on July 26 at 10:00 am PT. Adventures are free. Click here to get notified when the details for attending the event are available.

Are You a Lazy Marketer in the Summer?

marshmallow feastDuring a conversation with my business coach, we were discussing what happens to entrepreneurs and business owners in the Summer months. We both were getting a sense that business owners, particularly solo entrepreneurs, tended to back off on their marketing during the late Spring and Summer months.

There’s been a feeling of slowing down when I talk to other entrepreneurs. A desire to back off a bit and focus on fun Summer activities.

But we have no proof or statistics that this is actually true, so I decided to run a poll.

Will you help us out and select which response fits you best about how you market your business in the Summer? Are you a lazy marketer? Or on top of it year-round?

Believe me, I get it. The Summer is time to go to the beach, go on an Adventure away from the grind of daily life, or go camping with your pals and roast marshmallows over a campfire.

But what happens when Fall rolls around and you expect to run a successful launch for your new product or book, and you’ve been virtually absent for the last couple of months?

Please vote and share your views about Summer-time marketing, in the comments below.

Top Ten Online Marketing Articles in 2012

top-tenYear-end always brings a flurry of Top Ten posts, often focusing on a blog’s most popular posts of the year.  This blog is no exception. I dug into my analytics to find the ten online marketing articles that got the most page views and comments during 2012.  Those two metrics are generally a good indication of the types of content your readers enjoy the most and from which they get the most value.

Why should you create a year-end Top Ten list?

  • Adds more value for your audience
  • New and long-time subscribers may have missed earlier popular posts
  • Refocuses visibility on your best content
  • Reveals trends about what your readers like
  • Readers love list posts and usually share them with their networks

I’ve created the Top Ten list on List.ly so you can vote on your favorite of the ten posts, comment, share and embed the list on your own blog, if you wish.

Top 10 Posts of 2012 on DeniseWakeman.com
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Denise Wakeman

Top 10 Posts of 2012 on DeniseWakeman.com

Based on page views and comments, these are the top 10 blog posts on DeniseWakeman.com in 2012. Topics include business blogging, online visibility and social medial marketing. Feel free to share and embed the list on your own blog as well as vote on your favorite article!

Source: http://denisewakeman.com

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Did you write a Top Ten List of Popular Posts? Please share a link to your post in the comments below so we can check out what you created in 2012!

10 Ways to Gain Visibility for Your Business Contest or Sweepstakes

So, you’ve planned an awesome contest or sweepstakes to promote your small business that is going to be a BOMB! You’ve got a great idea, awesome prizes, an interactive design, but it’s one week in and you only have 10 entries. Of course, as long as you have two entries you can select a winner, but you know your promotion was destined for something greater.

The truth is, if you are a small business or an entrepreneur, you can’t entirely rely on the power of social media and the word of mouth to promote your business contest. For big-name brands like Coca-Cola, Victoria’s Secret, or even HubSpot a single announcement on Facebook might be enough to generate interest and engagement. As for the rest of us, small businesses owners and solopreneurs, until we have 50,000+ Facebook fans, we’ll have to develop a strategy to bring attention to what we do.

Here are a few ideas on what you can include in your contest or sweepstakes marketing plan.

Facebook

Whether you are hosting your promotion on Facebook or not, you can still advertise it there:

  • Start building excitement a week before by revealing some of the details.
  • Post every day reminding your fans to enter and set the first announcement as a highlighted post, so it stays on top of the page.
  • If your page has more than 400 fans, use the “promote” feature to make your posts visible to more fans and friends of fans.
  • Use Facebook ads to attract more people and target by region if your promotion is limited to certain states.
  • If you are choosing daily or weekly winners, announce them on Facebook after you’ve notified them and confirmed the win. People like to see that someone is actually winning; it makes people more enthusiastic about entering.

Twitter

Regularly tweet the link to the entry page using such hashtags as #win #contest #giveaway #sweeps #free. You can also use promoted tweets to gain more visibility.

 

Blog

Blog about your contest. This will inform your regular blog readers, provide new content for your blog and serve as food for the search engines. They will index your post and make it easier to find for anyone searching for related sweepstakes or contests. Definitely write a blog post or two if you are hosting a giveaway on your blog.

Press Release

If you don’t subscribe to a paid newswire service, you can use one of the available free options. Press releases get picked up by search engines very quickly and, besides spreading the news, might help with valuable backlinks to your website.

Email

If your promotion is designed to engage your current customers, readers or leads, email is the perfect way to reach them. Send an email blast to your list or casually mention the promotion on a sidebar in your monthly newsletter. If you are doing a direct mail campaign, print promotion details on a postcard to send with your scheduled mailing.

Social Sharing

No matter which platform you are using to host your promotion, make sure it has built-in sharing options. Make it easy for people who already entered to share the contest with their friends via social media or email. If in order to enter participants are asked to fill in the form, customize the page that loads after they click “submit” or “enter.” A post-entry page, among other things, can be used to encourage sharing.

Friend Referrals

While simply asking participants to share doesn’t hurt, you probably won’t see great results with this strategy. After all, the more people enter – the worse are the odds of winning, so it’s generally not in the entrants’ interest to spread the word about your sweepstakes. Quite the opposite – the less people know, the better chances have those few who entered … unless they get rewarded for referrals.

Awarding bonus entries for friend referrals is a fairly common practice. However, you will most likely need an advanced sweepstakes app to track such entries. Here is how it typically works: each participant is assigned a unique link that they can share with their friends. Every time someone enters using this referral link, the owner of the link receives additional entries into the sweepstakes. 

Third-party Endorsement

If you are giving away something other than your own products or services, you can try seeking endorsement from the prize manufacturers or retailers. Let’s say you are giving away a gift card to a furniture store. Contact the store manager or social media team and ask if they could mention your promotion on their Facebook or Twitter. It’s a win-win for both: you get publicity and the store gets guaranteed customers. While large stores like Target or BestBuy are likely to decline your proposition, you might have a chance with smaller online or local retailers.

Online Advertising

Advertising is, probably, one of the most effective ways to reach a specific audience. You will need to research what websites your ideal contest participants visit and then place ads. For example, if you have a pet-grooming business, you are looking to attract people that (a) own pets and (b) like to take care of them. These people are likely to be reading pet-related blogs and participating in forums. Find these blogs and forums and contact the owners about advertising opportunities. If advertising on a particular website is powered by Google AdSense, you can set up and run a short pay-per-click campaign with Google AdWords. 

Sweepstakes Forums

There are plenty of forums and online communities that are specifically dedicated to helping people enter various contests and sweepstakes. You can register in a few and submit your contest details. Because there are a lot of people looking to win something, you can expect to receive substantial traffic from such places.

However, keep in mind that most of these people enter contests as a hobby, so they might not be the ideal audience you want to attract. But even if they are only interested in the prize, you are still reaching at least one goal: making more people aware of your business. Who knows, maybe one day they will be looking for a service you offer and remember they entered your contest.

Sweepstakes and contests are a great way to gain more visibility for your small business. Online prize giveaways come in many different forms and give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to design and structure. No matter how great you think your idea is, take the time to promote it to ensure the return on your investment. Feel free to add to this list and share tips from your experience.

What tactics have you used to get more visibility and engagement for your contests or sweepstakes? Post your ideas in the comments below!

About the Author

Elena Meadowcroft is a social media enthusiast and content strategist working for a Baltimore-based internet marketing and web design firm PDR Web Solutions.

Top 10 Online Marketing Blog Posts in 2011

Top 10 Blog Posts

Like many at this time of year, I take a look back over the past 12 months and reflect on my business accomplishments. This year I also took a look at the blog posts on this site that generated the most traffic.  A high level of social sharing usually resulted in more traffic, though not always a lot of comments. I can improve on this by asking more provocative or engaging question at the end of my blog posts. 

For your end of the year review, here are the top 10 posts on this blog for 2011 counting down from number ten:

10. Social Marketing Tips Mobile App Now Live! (this one surprised me)

9. What's Your Facebook Visibility Plan?

8. Poke the Box – What Are You Ready to Start?

7. Writing Blog Posts that Captivate and Convert (excellent interview with copywriting and SEO expert Karon Thackston)

6. Kindle Ebooks Free to Borrow for Amazon Prime Members

5. Contagious Content – Strategic Posting for Better Visibility on the Web

4. Are Your Social Networks Getting Out of Control?

3. Self-Publish Your Ebook on Amazon.com's Kindle

2. How to Optimize Your Blog for More Subscribers

and… drum roll please…

the #1 most popular post in 2011 is…

[Read more...]